Zoom Side Effects, The Faces and ‘Stay With Me’

Well, how are we all doing? It occurred to me that for months now, all I seem to have written about around here is what I’ve been doing from the comfort of my own home – Reading, watching telly, my college course, helping Mr WIAA out with his business…, and so on. There are the walks and the trips to the supermarket, but all very local so nothing much to (literally) write home about.

A most unexpected and unwelcome outcome of lockdown is that I seem to have aged by about 10 years. This one is very much aimed at the ladies of my own age who drop by this place, as I would be very surprised if I feel alone in this. All down to the phenomenon called ‘Zoom Face’. Never before have we had to conduct most of our interactions with others via screens, and it leads to far too much time contemplating our own visages, resulting in a reverse Narcissus experience.

In a normal outward-looking life, we don’t have to spend much time at all perusing at our faces. Other than popping on a bit of mascara and lipstick in the morning (if you are so inclined), and fluffing up the hair with the drier, we tend not to spend that much time looking at our reflections. Nowadays, what with FaceTime calls, family Zoom quizzes and my online college course, all I seem to do is look at my face, and I think it’s made me develop some sort of body dysmorphia. We are usually seen as a complete package, and the essence of who we are comes down to a combination of our personalities, our minds, the kind of clothes we wear and our individual mannerisms, but we are now reduced to a badly lit, high definition… face.

I’ve written about faces that seem to have got younger around here before, but decided I’d give certain ladies in the entertainment industry a pass (Cher and Dolly). Both freely admit to having had ‘absolutely everything done’, but as they are both icons and neither seem to ever take themselves too seriously, I don’t begrudge them the squillions of dollars it must have taken one bit. It has now become very clear however that just about every female we see on our television screens (unless they are very young) has felt the need to go down the cosmetic surgery route, but after experiencing ‘Zoom Face’ myself, I kind of understand why. It was the advent of HD television that swung it apparently, and once you start with the Botox, there’s no going back. Like hair-colouring and leg-waxing, it just becomes a routine part of body maintenance for those in the public eye.

But where does that leave the rest of us who aren’t in the public eye? Feeling a bit shitty about ourselves it seems. I’m writing about all of this as if it’s a purely female problem but perhaps men experience the current reverse Narcissus phenomenon as well. Do tell.

But this is a music blog, I think, although I’m all over the place at the moment. What song would fit this post? At first I thought of Holding Back The Years by Simply Red but the lyrics aren’t really about the kind of holding back of years I’m talking about at all. So instead, I’m going to follow on from last time, when I wrote about the year 1971 in music. Two of the biggest albums of the year were by Rod Stewart (solo artist), and by the Faces (where Rod played lead singer). I’ve never quite got to grips with how the Small Faces morphed into the Faces, so maybe it’s time to find out.

The Small Faces were from London and formed in 1965. The group originally consisted of Steve Marriott, Ronnie Lane, Kenney Jones, and Jimmy Winston, with Ian McLagan replacing Winston as the band’s keyboardist in 1966. The band was one of the most acclaimed and influential mod groups of the 1960s. They got their name because they were all under five feet six inches tall, the face part coming from the Who song, I’m The Face, which showed their mod allegiances. When their first and only No. 1 hit, All Or Nothing, made it to the top of the charts in 1966, it shared the spot with Yellow Submarine by the Beatles.

All Or Nothing by the Small Faces:

The band split up in early 1969, after Steve Marriott went on to form Humble Pie with Peter Frampton. The remaining band members changed their name to the Faces in 1969 when Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood joined. Both of them were much taller than the other members at the time, so the band wasn’t really ‘small’ any more. When touring, they were known for living a wild hedonistic lifestyle and were banned from many hotel chains.

Their big hit, Stay With Me, reached the No. 6 spot in the UK Singles Chart in 1971 and is the tale of Rita, is who is left under no illusion that she is anything other than a one-night stand. I don’t think family man Rod would get away with writing lyrics like that nowadays, but I suppose 50 years ago they were writing about what they knew, and girls like Rita were not exactly in short supply. It still sounds great, and not dated at all, but some of those lyrics are a tough listen. Funny how the theme of this post is ‘Faces’ and even in the song, reference is made to Rita’s countenance. It seems whatever other qualities we may possess, the one that carries the most weight (when it comes to first impressions) is facial beauty.

You won’t need too much persuading
I don’t mean to sound degrading
But with a face like that
You got nothing to laugh about

Stay With Me by the Faces:

So, ‘What’s It All About?’ – I hope this is a short-lived dysmorphia that leaves me once things start to open up again but having done some research for this post, I know I’m not alone in feeling a bit blah… at the moment. The botulism injectors look as if they’re going to be working round the clock once we all get out there again. Another sad consequence of the pandemic.

As for the Small Faces and the Faces, I now understand the personnel changes along the way and how it led to a slight change in their moniker. Most of them are sadly no longer with us but a few of them still are, Ronnie still playing with the Rolling Stones, and Rod still doing his thing. They are both around the same age as Cher and Dolly pictured above. I questioned whether this obsession with looking young and unlined was just a problem for the female of the species, but it’s hard to tell really. Maybe we could ask Ronnie?

The happily lined and craggy Ronnie Wood – Way to go Ron, but wish we girls were allowed to do the same.

Until next time…

Stay With Me Lyrics
(Song by Rod Stewart/Ronnie Wood)

In the morning
Don’t say you love me
‘Cause I’ll only kick you out of the door

I know your name is Rita
‘Cause your perfume smelling sweeter
Since when I saw you down on the floor, guitar

You won’t need too much persuading
I don’t mean to sound degrading
But with a face like that
You got nothing to laugh about

Red lips hair and fingernails
I hear your a mean old Jezebel
Let’s go up stairs and read my tarot cards, c’mon

Stay with me
Stay with me
For tonight you better stay with me, oh yeah

Stay with me
Stay with me
For tonight you better stay with me, oh rock on

So in the morning
Please don’t say you love me
‘Cause you know I’ll only kick you out the door

Yea I’ll pay your cab fare home
You can even use my best cologne
Just don’t be here in the morning when I wake up, c’mon honey

Stay with me
Stay with me
‘Cause tonight you gonna stay with me
Sit down, get up, get down

Stay with me
Stay with me
‘Cause tonight your going stay with me
Hey, what’s your name again
Oh no, get down, whoo, hey, oh no, woo, get yourself home, slow down babe

Author: Alyson

Whenever I hear an old song on the radio, I am immediately transported back to those days. I know I'm not alone here and want to record those memories for myself and for the people in them. 57 years ago the song "Alfie" was written by my favourite songwriting team, Bacharach and David. The opening line to that song was, "What's it all about?" and I'm hoping by writing this blog, I might find the answer to that question.

12 thoughts on “Zoom Side Effects, The Faces and ‘Stay With Me’”

  1. Dolly famously said of herself: It takes a lot of money to look this cheap.

    As to different standards for men and women, that won’t change much as long as young women are happy with older men but less so vice versa. (My own experience covers several women over a range between about 10 years younger and 10 years older than I am, and I know a few couples with the man even (much) younger than that compared to the woman, but they are the exceptions.). Many have remarked that Sean Connery got sexier the older he got. One doesn’t hear that that often about women. But for every old dude with a young girl, there is a young girl who wants that old dude.

    From the point of view of evolutionary biology, it makes sense. If a woman is to have children, she must be young and healthy and, from the point of view of sowing the wild oats, not pregnant with someone else’s child, hence the attractiveness of an hourglass figure (which includes not just a slim waist but large breasts for milk and wide hips for easy birth). A man can father a child at any age, so youth is not important. The older the better, because that shows that he has good genes which allowed him to get that old in the first place. Also, success is sexy, because that means that he can provide for his offspring.

    As my late history teacher used to say, just an observation, not a judgement.

    Of course, one can be smarter than one’s genes, as voluntarily childless Harvard professor Steven Pinker (probably considered seriously hot by many women) has written.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Gosh that’s a very full and scientific comment there and yes I agree with the biology aspect of it all but since the pandemic began we are all very inward looking and live our lives via screens which I’m thinking is not very healthy at all. Roll on things improving and I can actually get out there and meet people in person again.


  2. I don’t like looking at my own face at the best of times, and these certainly aren’t the best of times, are they?

    I do.know this is more of a problem for women than for men, yet I’m sure we can all name some famous celebrity blokes who’ve had a treatment or two. They rarely look any better though… although there are exceptions, most women in the public eye seem to do it with a bit more subtlety.

    Too late to turn back the tide now though, as you say.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You too will probably be having online meetings/classes via Zoom/Teams, and like with me, many of the participants are probably still teenagers. It’s tough seeing yourself surrounded by these fresh faces and it makes for a sobering experience as in my head I’m still their age. Yes, I see a few ‘celebrity’ blokes have gone down that route too but I suppose they feel the need (Mr Cowell seems to have pared back on the use of Botox of late however and all for the better).

      Yes, the woman seem to be winning when it comes to the quality of the work done nowadays but that’s my point – It’s so good nowadays, and subtle, that if you didn’t know any better you’d think they’d had nothing done. When your other half points out how good they look for their age (which just happens to be the same age as yourself), it does grate. This last week alone I spotted that Judy Murray now seems to have succumbed and Sigourney Weaver was looking 10 years younger than she did 10 years ago! It is what it is and too late to turn back the tide as you say.


  3. Ah, look at Ronnie there, all craggy and lived-in and happy! Did you watch the documentary on Sky Arts about him from last year, ‘Someone Up There Likes Me’? I thought he came across really well. Wouldn’t he look ridiculous if he went the plastic route?! We love him as he is.
    But you already know my fervent feelings about society’s horrible and unrealistic expectations for us all to look forever young and beautiful (and I re-read your earlier linked post and my comment there too and still stand by it all). I hate the way it’s going but I’m also thinking we’re getting an unrealistic slant on it too because we’re bombarded with images of people, mostly women*, who are (in my opinion) deforming themselves to meet some perceived standard of beauty, and so it’s perpetuated – actors, presenters, reality stars, Instagrammers, etc. What we tend to see less of, or perhaps focus less on, are all the natural women who just get on with staying confidently individual as they age – the artists, the authors, the historians, the academics, and all the good, lovely people with relatively ordinary lives, the ones who would no more think of going under the knife or filling their faces with botulism and acid than they would taking distorted selfies of themselves pouting and pandering for approval from strangers…. Maybe it’s just me but when I see a woman with personality, individuality, warmth and a naturally ageing face I see real beauty. Everyone looks beautiful when they smile too, it goes deeper. Those are my role models. But of course you’ve hit on something with your comment about how the essence of someone is “… a combination of our personalities, minds, the kind of clothes we wear and our individual mannerisms, but we are now reduced to a badly lit, high definition… face.” and that makes it all feel a bit pressurised. Still I like to think that those we would want to associate with will not be making judgements purely on the image they see on a screen because they know this too! (And really I am guilty of that for making judgements about people who go the plastic route – I don’t know them after all – I just don’t like the precedent…)
    All that said – I’ve started drinking loads of water, doing facial muscle exercises (sucking your cheeks in like a fish 25 times in a row a few times a day, just don’t do it when anyone can see you…), have cut back on wine and salt (it was definitely giving me a puffy face) and taking vitamin supplements for hair, skin and nails… I’m hoping it might help, especially to offset the negative effects of a long, dark, dismal, antisocial Winter….
    * I said mostly women, but then there’s Charlie Mullins, do you know of him? if not, look him up – I can’t understand why he’s done that to himself, all seems rather desperate and sad.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh C, just look as us, anyone reading my post and your comment would think “the ladies protest too much” but I’m very much with you on all of it. Sadly, as I said above, for around half the population I suspect having Botox will now be as routine as having your hair done. For ladies of a certain age however this last year has distorted our view of ourselves – Until having to use Zoom and FaceTime I never had to look at myself in HD – I’m a bit short-sighted and don’t wear my glasses all the time so whenever I looked in the mirror it was in soft focus so I was happy. What with only seeing very youthful faces on telly and via Zoom, the reality of the situation has really kicked in and like for many other, a kind of dysmorphia has kicked in. I’m hoping when things become a bit more normalised again it will dissipate, but a weird side effect of trying to just ‘not die’ by staying at home all the time!

      Didn’t know the name Charlie Mullins but having looked him up I now know exactly who you mean as he often pops up on our screens being interviewed (even during the pandemic) – Maybe why he’s felt the need to make him look like a 1980s version of Rod Stewart. Very apt for this post.


      1. Ah, well I just like to think we put across another viewpoint! I don’t know why I find myself caring so much but think I just hate any sense of pressure to be something I’m not, it takes me back to my youth and all those awful teenage insecurities, ugh! Totally get what you say about Zoom – I’ve just come from a call with my two oldest friends and caught sight of myself looking like a red blob in comedy nose-and-glasses. I’m so relieved my friends know how I am in the flesh (like a red blob in comedy nose-and-glasses with legs). Oh to go back to real-life socialising again!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Ha ha – Maybe that’s it, we are reminded of how we used to feel in school when the pressure was on to look a certain way whether we wanted to or not.

          Glad you managed to make contact with your friends even if it was via Zoom – I doubt very much if they saw you as a red blob in comedy-nose-and-glasses but you will know what I mean about not really liking having to look as yourself for that length of time. Roll on real-life, safe socialising.


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